Chennai: The public works department (water resources department) is poised to undertake lake improvement works in Chennai region after the northeast monsoon withdrew its activity.
Sources said that even though the department kept saying that they would take up such works earlier, they did not do so. This drew severe criticism from water experts. There are around 13,000 lakes falling under PWD maintenance and these are crucial sources for irrigation for lakhs of acres. The PWD, which faced a shortage of funds, decided to undertake improvement works like deepening of lakes to increase storage capacity and strengthening of bunds to prevent breaches and desilting.
Accordingly, the PWD earmarked around Rs 50 lakh during 2015-16, prepared a blueprint and sent it to the state government and Centre. Since such big projects come under the Union government, the Centre allotted `50 crore in 2015. "However, only a few works were done. We will undertake works in January 2019, as there might be rains in December due to the northeast monsoon," said a PWD official.
Another engineer claimed that they were continuously taking up necessary works in the lakes. "Prior to the onset of the monsoon, we were cautious and took up widening works in the Adyar and Cooum rivers to prevent breaches, if there is heavy rain. Similarly, we took up works in Poondi and Chembarambakkam lakes," the engineer added.
When contacted, a senior official, PWD, said that they had not taken up major works in the previous days due to a funds crunch. "We have been taking up works in the Velachery lake which will be converted into an eco-park. Further, works are in full swing at Pallikaranai marshland to construct compound walls," the official said, adding that they have crucial tasks at hand, as they are keen to take up improvement works in many water bodies next year....